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The Decline of the American Empire (1986)
"Le déclin de l'empire américain" (original title)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  November 1986 (USA)
7.3
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 5,794 users  
Reviews: 33 user | 28 critic

Sexual revelations emerge when a group of academics and their partners spend a weekend at a country retreat.

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Title: The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 13 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Dominique Michel ...
Dorothée Berryman ...
Louise
...
Diane Leonard
Pierre Curzi ...
Pierre
...
...
Claude
Geneviève Rioux ...
Danielle
...
Alain
...
Mario
Évelyn Regimbald ...
Theresa
Lisette Guertin
Alexandre Remy
Ariane Frédérique
Jean-Paul Bongo ...
Transvestite
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Storyline

Four very different Montreal university teachers gather at a rambling country house to prepare a dinner. Remy (married), Claude (a homosexual), Pierre (involved with a girlfriend) and Alain (a bachelor) discuss sex, the female body and their affairs with them. Meanwhile, their four female guests, Louise (Remy's wife of 15 years), Dominique (a spinster), Diane (a divorcée) and Danielle (Pierre's girlfriend) are spending the time at a downtown health gym. They also discuss sex, the female body and, naturally, men. Later in the evening, they finally meet at the country house and have dinner. The discussion? Well, you can guess it... However, a ninth guest, named Mario, who used to know Diane, drops in on the group for some talk and has a surprise of his own. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

sex | dinner | university | gym | weekend | See All (71) »

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

R | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

November 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Decline of the American Empire  »

Box Office

Budget:

CAD 1,800,000 (estimated)

Gross:

CAD 2,200,000 (Canada)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The house in which the majority of the events take place, in Magog, burned down in 1989, was later rebuilt. The scene in which one of the women characters is having sex, seen through a window from outside, was actually shot through a garage window. The actress was sitting on the snow tires which the owner of the house stored in the garage. She told him that, thanks to the tires, it was one of the most comfortable scenes she had ever done. See more »

Connections

Featured in The Hour: Episode #7.72 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Music themes
by George Frideric Handel.
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User Reviews

 
Witty and Entertaining
10 December 2003 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

For many years, this movie ranked in my all time top ten. Over time, my affection for it has dropped, but I still value it greatly. It is a wordy movie about sexual politics of all kinds and human relationships. I have always felt that most of the characters in this film feel a need to justify relationships that they should not be in.

The story is simple - a group of men prepare dinner for a group of women who are at a club working out. While in separate locations, they are free to talk about their sexual appetites, exploits and conquests. The female conversations are particularly funny. Eventually, the women arrive and dinner commences, an unexpected guest shows up and eventually, secrets are revealed.

Decline of the American Empire is Denys Arcand's best film, and at the time, the best ever to come out of Canada. (That crown now firmly belongs to Atom Egoyan's The Sweet Hereafter). It seems a little dated today, but if you can handle subtitles, and if you like movies with lots of dialogue about sex and human relationships, it is a worthy rental. ***1/2 out of ****.


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